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Topic: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Smithsonian’s Submillimeter Array observes new Star being born

 

Written by Molly Porter
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – A snapshot of the stellar life cycle has been captured in a new portrait from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Smithsonian’s Submillimeter Array (SMA).  

A cloud that is giving birth to stars has been observed to reflect X-rays from Cygnus X-3, a source of X-rays produced by a system where a massive star is slowly being eaten by its companion black hole or neutron star. This discovery provides a new way to study how stars form. 

A small cloud of dust and gas containing a new star being formed about 20,000 light years from Earth. (X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/M.McCollough et al, Radio: ASIAA/SAO/SMA)

A small cloud of dust and gas containing a new star being formed about 20,000 light years from Earth. (X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/M.McCollough et al, Radio: ASIAA/SAO/SMA)

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NASA launches Geostationary Weather Satellite for NOAA

 

Written by Sean Potter
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA successfully launched for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the first in a series of highly advanced geostationary weather satellites Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) lifted off at 5:42pm CST on its way to boost the nation’s weather observation capabilities, leading to more accurate and timely forecasts, watches and warnings.

The GOES-R satellite will be NOAA's most sophisticated weather observation spacecraft and is expected to improve forecasts and tracking substantially. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

The GOES-R satellite will be NOAA’s most sophisticated weather observation spacecraft and is expected to improve forecasts and tracking substantially. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

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NASA Survey discovers extensive coastal erosion from Gulf Oil Spill

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Dramatic, widespread shoreline loss is revealed in new NASA/U.S. Geological Survey annual maps of the Louisiana marshlands where the coastline was most heavily coated with oil during the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Following the spill, the length of shoreline that receded more than 13 feet (4 meters) a year quadrupled compared to the year before the spill. The land losses occurred mainly in areas where oil had washed ashore during the spill.

2010 photo of a shoreline in Bay Jimmy, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Oil weakens and kills vegetation, leading to the loss of roots that help hold soil together. (Bruce A. Davis, Department of Homeland Security)

2010 photo of a shoreline in Bay Jimmy, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Oil weakens and kills vegetation, leading to the loss of roots that help hold soil together. (Bruce A. Davis, Department of Homeland Security)

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft snaps new image of Occator Crater on dwarf planet Ceres

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The brightest area on Ceres stands out amid shadowy, cratered terrain in a dramatic new view from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, taken as it looked off to the side of the dwarf planet.

Dawn snapped this image on October 16th, from its fifth science orbit, in which the angle of the sun was different from that in previous orbits. Dawn was about 920 miles (1,480 kilometers) above Ceres when this image was taken — an altitude the spacecraft had reached in early October.

Occator Crater, home of Ceres' intriguing brightest areas, is prominently featured in this image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

Occator Crater, home of Ceres’ intriguing brightest areas, is prominently featured in this image from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA reports Last Three Octobers the Warmest Octobers in History

 

Written by Michael Cabbage
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNew York, NY – October 2016 was the second warmest October in 136 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

October 2016’s temperature was 0.18 degrees Celsius cooler than the warmest October in 2015. Last month was 0.89 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean October temperature from 1951-1980.

A map of the October 2016 LOTI (land-ocean temperature index) anomaly, showing that the Arctic region was much warmer than average. The United States and North Africa were also relatively warm. The largest area of cooler temperatures stretched across Russia

A map of the October 2016 LOTI (land-ocean temperature index) anomaly, showing that the Arctic region was much warmer than average. The United States and North Africa were also relatively warm. The largest area of cooler temperatures stretched across Russia

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NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft finds Great Valley on Mercury

 

NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A newly discovered “great valley” in the southern hemisphere of Mercury provides more evidence that the small planet closest to the sun is shrinking.

Scientists used stereo images from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft to create a high-resolution topo map that revealed the broad valley — more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) long — extending into the Rembrandt basin, one of the largest and youngest impact basins on Mercury. About 250 miles (400 kilometers) wide and 2 miles (3 kilometers) deep, Mercury’s great valley is smaller than Mars’ Valles Marineris, but larger than North America’s Grand Canyon and wider and deeper than the Great Rift Valley in East Africa.

Using colorized topography, Mercury’s “great valley” (dark blue) and Rembrandt impact basin (purple, upper right) are revealed in this high-resolution digital elevation model merged with an image mosaic obtained by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft.(NASA/JHUAPL/Carnegie Institution of Washington/DLR/Smithsonian Institution)

Using colorized topography, Mercury’s “great valley” (dark blue) and Rembrandt impact basin (purple, upper right) are revealed in this high-resolution digital elevation model merged with an image mosaic obtained by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft.(NASA/JHUAPL/Carnegie Institution of Washington/DLR/Smithsonian Institution)

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NASA reports 2015 Warm Cyclone thinned Arctic Sea Ice

 

Written by Maria-José Viñas
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A large cyclone that crossed the Arctic in December 2015 brought so much heat and humidity to this otherwise frigid and dry environment that it thinned and shrunk the sea ice cover during a time of the year when the ice should have been growing thicker and stronger, a NASA study found.

The cyclone formed on December 28th, 2015, in the middle of the North Atlantic, and traveled to the United Kingdom and Iceland before entering the Arctic on December 30th, lingering in the area for several days.

This image shows the winds and warm mass of air associated with a large cyclone that swept the Arctic in late December 2015-early January 2016, thinning and shrinking the sea ice cover. (NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/Alex Kekesi, data visualizer)

This image shows the winds and warm mass of air associated with a large cyclone that swept the Arctic in late December 2015-early January 2016, thinning and shrinking the sea ice cover. (NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Alex Kekesi, data visualizer)

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NASA’s first GRACE Satellite finishes Construction, Launch set for December

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Construction is now complete on the first of the two satellites for NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, planned for launch in the December 2017/January 2018 timeframe.

The satellite, built by Airbus Defence and Space at its manufacturing facility in Friedrichshafen, Germany, will spend the next several months undergoing testing at the IABG test center in Ottobrunn, near Munich. The second GRACE-FO satellite will be ready for testing in the near future.

Artist's rendering of the twin satellites that will compose NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of the twin satellites that will compose NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System satellites to help with hurricane forecasts

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA is set to launch its first Earth science small satellite constellation, which will help improve hurricane intensity, track and storm surge forecasts, on December 12th from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) hurricane mission will measure previously unknown details crucial to accurately understanding the formation and intensity of tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Derek Posselt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is the deputy principal investigator.

Artist's concept of one of the eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System satellites deployed in space above a hurricane. (NASA)

Artist’s concept of one of the eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System satellites deployed in space above a hurricane. (NASA)

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NASA’s Spitzer and Swift Space Telescopes use Microlensing to discover Brown Dwarf

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, NASA’s Spitzer and Swift space telescopes joined forces to observe a microlensing event, when a distant star brightens due to the gravitational field of at least one foreground cosmic object. This technique is useful for finding low-mass bodies orbiting stars, such as planets. In this case, the observations revealed a brown dwarf.

Brown dwarfs are thought to be the missing link between planets and stars, with masses up to 80 times that of Jupiter. But their centers are not hot or dense enough to generate energy through nuclear fusion the way stars do.

This illustration depicts a newly discovered brown dwarf, an object that weighs in somewhere between our solar system's most massive planet (Jupiter) and the least-massive known star. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration depicts a newly discovered brown dwarf, an object that weighs in somewhere between our solar system’s most massive planet (Jupiter) and the least-massive known star. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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